Can You Use A Duffel Bag As Checked Luggage?

So can you check a duffel bag?

Duffel bags has been on the rise in recent years and they can be used for almost every occasion.

Maybe your duffel bag is above the size to be carried as a carry-on or you just discovered that a duffel bag is more convenient for you to fit all what you need on your next trip.

Duffel bags are great to be used as checked baggage and a good alternative to suitcases or backpacks and are designed to fit as much as you can comfortably take, and you can use a duffel on most airlines without any issue.

This post will answer all your inquiries on using duffel bags as checked baggage, in addition to some hacks to protect your duffel bag and make it light to avoid the airline’s last-minute luggage fees and hefty overweight penalties.

TIP: Duffels are good to travel with they are easy to carry and provide more space to hold all your stuff; many of them are sturdy and built to take the hits, in addition of their beautiful designs.

Can You Use a Duffel Bag As Checked Luggage-01
Vera Bradley Women’s Performance Twill Large Travel large travel Duffle Bag / Amazon courtesy

Can You Use a Duffel Bag As Checked Luggage?

YES you can use a duffel bag as a checked luggage on most airlines without any problem, the only thing you need to consider is your duffel bag weight and size.

However; even if your duffel bag exceeds the airline weight and size limits, you still can travel with it but with some additional fees.

For example if you are traveling with American Airlines, here is what their checked baggage rules are.

The total dimensions of your duffel bag, length + width + height , should not exceed 62 in / 158 cm and no more than 50 lbs/ 23 kgs in weight.

What Is The Duffel Bag Size For Checked Luggage?

If you wonder what size duffel bag can you check on a plane? you could know your airline check in luggage size.

Each airline have its own regulations concerning checked baggage, the size is different from airline to another but there is a single rule they share which is how they measure checked baggage (Length + Width + Height); But the most common size is 62 inches linear

Most airlines will allow you to take one piece of checked baggage free of charge if you stay within the weight and size restriction.

Otherwise if your duffel bag is oversized or overweight, you will be required to pay some extra fees.

Tips On Packing Your duffel Bag On Checked Baggage

two person carrying duffel and backpack
Photo by Dids on

1. Pack In a Sturdy And Solid duffel Bag

A perfect duffel bag is the one that is sturdy, roomy and can fit all your needs, with enough compartments to place extra items.

A 50 to 75 liter duffel bag is just perfect to take all your belongings and more equipment, most of them have extra layers and they don’t exceed most of the airline checked baggage size.

A 75-liter or more is just a good choice if you want to take your duffel bag with you on your adventure, it will take almost all your heavy items, especially if it’s one with added straps.

Just to know wheeled duffel bags are more easier and take heavier items than non wheeled duffel bags.

2. Tighten The Straps

When using a duffel as checked baggage the strap can cause your duffel bag to be stuck somewhere in the airport , however most of the time you can to remove the strap, or you can just tie it with the other straps.

3.Don’t take fragile items inside your duffle bag

Duffel bags will not work as a hard side checked bag, if you are carrying fragile items inside your duffle bag, there is more chance that baggage handlers at the airport will not take care of it, they just toss baggage and load it into the airplane because they are in a rush.

4.Place Your Expensive Items Inside Your Carry-On Bag

It is always wise to not put any expensive or valuable items inside your checked luggage, not just in your duffel bag but even if you check in a suitcase, cash, jewelry these items can be lost or disappear in your check baggage easily.

Though most airlines will not reimburse them as they consider it expensive.

5. Be Aware Of Prohibited Items

When using a duffel bag as checked luggage and taking so many items, it is better to check what the regulations are about traveling with certain items, you may get surprised that items are not allowed in check baggage, so you will have to transfer them into your carry on bag.

We have covered almost all the items that are and are not allowed on planes just head to the search bar on the website and type your item.

6. Place Important Items In The Middle Of The duffel Bag

If it happens that you take a certain item in your duffel bag, you can simply place it in the middle of the duffel bag surrounded with cloth, that will add extra protection for it.

You need to be more conscious about what to pack in your duffel bag, because as stated above the duffel bag will not provide more protection.

just to make sure that your items are safe and they reach your destination in good shape.

7. Use a TSA Approved Lock

A TSA approved lock is a game changer, if you are not familiar with what is a TSA approved lock, is a lock that can be opened by the TSA agent without need to to be broken, the TSA has worked with many lock companies to have locks that can be accessible for the TSA officers with a universal “master” key, and they are recognized with their packaging that indicates they are TSA approved.

A TSA approved will provide more protection for your duffel bag, you can use a solid an well robust luggage lock to protect your duffel bag , you can find STA approved luggage locks on Amazon, they work almost for any luggage , you can choose the one that suits your needs, cable, combination or with Key.

Can You Use a Gym Bag As Luggage?

Yes a gym bag can be used in both as carry-on and checked baggage, as long as the gym bag is within the weight and size limits, you are good to go.

A gym bag is almost like a duffel bag, and there is no official minimum size for checked bags. just check your airlines maximum size and weight limits.

What Is The Best Duffel Bag For Checked Luggage?

Whether you want to travel with a simple duffel bag or a wheeled duffel bag, most duffel bags will provide plenty of useful room and storage to keep your items safe in transit and make it easy to find them when you need to.

But the most important thing you should keep in mind when looking for a duffel bag to use in your next adventure is the material durability.

Osprey Transporter 40 Travel Duffel Bag

  • Capacity : 40L
  • Weight:2.7 lbs
  • Dimension: 20.9H x 12.2W x 10.6D in

Comes in beautiful and different colors, you can carry it like a duffel or backpack, compact and easy to carry with more space to carry all your needs,

YETI Panga Airtight, Waterproof and Submersible Bags

  • Capacity: 50L
  • Weight: 6.8 lbs
  • Dimensions: 23.5 x 14 x 10 inches

This is the coolest duffel bag made by YETTI, lightweight and dry duffel . There is no chance that your items will get wet no matter how the weather is.

Also it can be used as checked baggage, without any problem.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel Bag

  • Weight: ‎4.06 Pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎15.75 x 27.56 x 15.75 inches

Another perfect duffel bag to use as check baggage, This duffel bag can be used also as a Backpack with a futuristic design full of compartments and room so you can take all your items and be transported.

The bag is large and sturdy so it will fit everything you need on your next adventure.

Final Thoughts

duffel bags can be used as checked baggage on most airlines without any problem, but you need to check first your airline checked luggage size and weight regulations.

Before transporting your duffel bag, just make sure that the handle or the straps are secured properly ; if it is a duffel bag and a backpack hold them together so they don’t move around loosely, especially in a conveyor built.

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